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Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Court rules ex-bank boss liable for $1m

Peter Holland
Peter Holland

A former banking boss breached duties owed to a consultancy firm he helped set up, profited at its expense, and is now liable to it for more than $1 million, a High Court judge has ruled.

Peter Jesse Holland is an ex-senior executive of ANZ in Australia who described himself on his LinkedIn profile as "one of the leading bankers in the area of corporate turnaround".

He was also on the board of the Bank of India New Zealand and set up an advisory firm called Holland Corporate.

Holland Corporate, according to the former banker's LinkedIn profile, specialises in offering advice and planning for companies that are wanting to refinance bank facilities and make changes to existing facilities.

Holland is no longer on the board of the consultancy and according to the Companies Office it is directed by ex-Chapman Tripp lawyer Michael Kyriak and former treasurer at Heinz Wattie's Michael Ryan.

Holland Corporate this month sued him in the High Court at Auckland for breach of duties.

The proceedings were complicated by Holland, who was not represented in court, appointing a controlling trustee under Australian bankruptcy laws.

The trustee attempted to put Holland Corporate's action against its former director on hold but Justice Ailsa Duffy allowed the case to proceed.

In her decision on Holland's breach of duties, Justice Duffy said the proceeding needed to be delivered promptly if Holland Corporate was to have the judgement recognised by this trustee.

In a brief decision released this morning, Justice Duffy said she was satisfied that Holland owed the consultancy business duties of loyalty, to act in good faith and not place himself in a position that conflicted with the firm's interests.

She ruled Holland breached those duties.

As a consequence of these breaches, the former senior banker profited at Holland Corporate's expense by receiving AUD$440,798 that should have gone to the company, the judge said. He is liable to account to the company for this amount.

Holland also performed services for third parties either in his own right, or on behalf of entities other than Holland Corporate and deprived the company receiving value for those services, the judge said.

For these breaches, Holland is liable to pay equitable compensation to the company of AUD$166,407 and NZD$450,000, she said.

"It follows that judgement for HCL [Holland Corporate Limited] is entered against Mr Holland in the total sum of AUD $607,205.50 and NZD$450,000," Justice Duffy said this morning.

Holland Corporate was represented by Queen's Counsel Noel Ingram.

Read the judgement here:

- NZ Herald

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